Was there a more subversive thrill this year than the fact that Duckie’s C’est Barbican! took the year’s Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment?
Seeing it again on its return to the Barbican Pit, I’m even more astonished that this intoxicating show (in every sense - champagne is served so cheaply at £10 a bottle that you might well get drunk watching it) should have received such an accolade.
Here’s a show quite unlike any other and a show where even people who see it on the same night might have very different experiences to each other. For this is an evening that’s entirely yours for the choosing - seated at tables of eight, each group selects which of five or six acts from a menu of some 27 items they want to have performed specifically for them. One of the four core performers, plus a speciality act which changes nightly, then comes to your table to offer the brief entertainments you’ve ordered.
While there’s an inherent risk here that other tables might look like they’re having more fun than you - I was certainly jealous of the pleasure that ‘Golden Throat’ seemed to be exciting - there’s also a genuine intimacy (of every kind) to having ‘Natcho Snatcho’ performed for your table alone.
As titles like that and ‘Miss Kick Does Seven Cocks’ - a balloon act, in case you’re asking - suggests, there’s something deliberately alluring about the names of the acts. But all is not what it seems, ‘Wet Rimming’, for instance, is simply about making musical sounds from the wetted rims of half-filled glasses.